Restaurants in Alaska range from fine-dining establishments that rival restaurants anywhere in the country (Seven Glaciers, near Anchorage) to no-frills seafood counters frequented by fishermen (Coastal Cold Storage, in the southeastern town of Petersburg). What all Alaska restaurants have in common is access to the world's freshest fish. While salmon and halibut are the most popular, don't miss out on char and steelhead, which is like gourmet salmon; cod, snapper, and abalone often come straight out of Alaskan waters and onto the table. And every visitor to Alaska must try a traditional salmon bake, with the fish cooked on an open fire.
To explore other Alaskan food customs, you could hold a long piece of raw seal blubber between your teeth and shave off bits like candy, as the natives of the far north do—it tastes a little like sweet nuts. If that's not your sort of thing, order a reindeer sausage at a hot dog stand in downtown Anchorage, Juneau, or Fairbanks. The rich, spicy meat proves that even after his nose went out, Rudolph had a place in this world. Moose meat is even better, but it's hard to find on Alaska restaurant menus—locals like to keep it for themselves.
Anchorage has a range and variety of restaurants to match any town of the same size down south: Marx Bros. Café and Simon & Seaforts are good places to linger long into the bright summer night. Fairbanks isn't known for its dining, but it won't be hard to fill up there on the most important of all Alaskan ingredients at the Alaska Salmon Bake. Although a lot of the restaurants in Southeast Alaska are geared toward cruise ship passengers who won't be coming back tomorrow, there's still plenty of good food to be had. With a little judicious ferry-hopping, you can have breakfast in Juneau at the Silverbow, eat lunch in Petersburg at Coastal Cold Storage, and finish the day with a picnic on the beach, waiting for whales to swim by.
As far as dress codes go, Alaska is unapologetically casual. Even at the best restaurants, hiking boots are as common as suits. Dining in Alaska does require a little advance thought, however. In winter, many places open only a couple of days a week, or shut down completely; in summer, it isn't unusual for a restaurant to close for the day in the early afternoon. (Hey, the staff wants to get outside, too!) When in doubt, call in advance.